In this section our latest updates in the plugin, firmware, panel program or website are described.August 2023:
|Firmware update >>||Support for the 2004 LCD, the encoders processing improvmentd, LCD bar-graph, 7-segm. display:
1) The 20x4 LCD support is added, to both main board firmware and the slave LCD board firmware that need to manually update while the main firmware is updated automatically on start.
2) Added support for LCD bar graph. Now some of the variable parameters (such as engine RPM, Flaps or Trim position) can be assigned to LCD and displayed as continuous bar graphs of any given length (from 2 to 40).
1) The encoders processing is improved (mainly for the type 2 of different detents construction).
2) If you have an elevator trim encoder and you are using a DC motor to rotate the trim wheel (using a switch on the yoke or using the autopilot), the corresponding plugin functions are used to enable/disable the trim encoder on the firmware side.
The plugin sends the appropriate data to the firmware when the autopilot controls the trim, and the firmware disables the processing of the trim encoder, allowing free control of any other encoder while the trim is rotating.
|Plugin changes >>||Last (current) version - SimVim Plugin v. 2.19:
LEDs: Fixed the bug with the LED Bar Graph indicator - if the N-position indicator was assigned to the outputs that started in the first register (or first half of the LED DM13A driver) and ends in the next register (or driver half), and there was no other LEDs assigned after that indicator, it worked incorrectly, showing normally only the beginning part of the bar.
Electric Trim: the corresponding plugin functions are used to enable/disable the trim encoder on the firmware side when the autopilot controls the trim, allowing free control of any other encoder while the trim is rotating by the DC motor.
LCD: Added an output processing for 2004 LCD (20x4 type) and support for LCD bar graph. Now some of the variable parameters (such as engine RPM, Flaps or Trim position) can be assigned to LCD and displayed as continuous bar graphs of any given length (from 2 to 40).
|Website: Config Tool >>||LCD selection option is added (it will work after the plugin/firmware update in August 8/10 )
The LCD 20x4 type is added to the type selection menu in the configurator - you can now select the 2004 type LCD (20x4) and assign parameters for it and you can be sure that all positioning will be correct.
|SimVimPanel >>||The Dash 8-400 instrument panel
The Dash 8-400 instrument panel (beta versions) will be available for subscribers on Patreon or Boosty (ask).
This panel can be used with the Q4XP (Dash-8) model from FlyJSim or any other free or payware Dash plane model.
|Plugin changes >>|| July 2023 - version: 2.18
- Fixed the combo radio encoders not changing the active frequency after the ACT button is held.
- Custom SimVimX transponder now reads the standard transponder frequency on startup.
|Website changes >>|| Last: July 2023
The RSC website menu structure was changed for better quick navigation
The information related to the hardware setup and the plugin with SimVImPanel program is divided between RealSimControl and SimVimX websites. The SimVimPanel program and all Aircraft panels are located on the SimVIm website.
|SimVimPanel >>|| July 2023 - SimVimPanel version 5.0 is relesed having many improvements:
Here you can see all the upcoming changes that will be implemented in the nearest updates.
|Plugin updates >>|| New version is planned to release in November 2023 for the changes listed below
|New Config Tool >>||
Fully remade Config Tool - it should become much easier and understandable, It will include all possible options to configure:
|Configuration file >>||Multiple data config file support - Each plane may have its own config file loaded automatically
|New planes converter >>||Simplified conversion file format, separate conversion files for specific plane models.
1. Each plane has its own conversion file in form of simple text file
2. In new converter you will be able to create a conversion file for a particular plane model and save in in the related plugin folderNote: if the conversion for this plane is already included into SimVimX plugin, it takes priority.
Below you can see a list of our planned or considered changes and improvements that may be implemented either in the near future or considered in a longer timeline.
|Hardware: LEDs >>||Developing new LED output system for multiple two brightness level LEDs:
I'm testing the LED output system that will use an additional slave board (Nano) with 6-10 analog LED driver breakout boards. This slave board can be located in a any part of your cockpit near to the group of LEDs and connected to the master board with two wires. A single slave board is supposed to control about 200 LEDs (I'm not sure yet, maybe I can increase or decrease the number).
In addition to a simpler implementation for users ("buy and connect", no need to have a PCB ), this system can control all LEDs not only as ON/OFF lamps but also as two-level annunciators used in many planes, when two switchable fixed brightness levels are used - normal and dimmed (night mode).
It also works with rarely used dual level annunciators that have a normal mode and a bright mode to indicate dynamic system status or failure (like valve position).
|Analog axis >>||Consider to add a separate input board (slave) that will be used specially for analog inputs.
We could expand the interface configuration adding separate slave boards for analog axes input. This will allow you to have a small Nano board near to the axis controls and reduce the effect of interference (6-8 axes plus 11 buttons/switches or it might be some other configurations, including digital inputs, encoders)
|SimVimPanel >>||Selectable instrument configurations:
Each panel will have several instrument models configurations
|Panels (B58) >>||Baron 58 additional panel configurations:
- Create lower instrument panel with 4 gauges and Volts/Amps linear gauges (for 10" LCD)
- Add the right alternative instrument panel configurations.
The master firmware has been updated for more optimized data processing and speed-up the connection protocol. Improved initial connection to SimVimX Plugin and start configuration. It's not so important, but you will notice the USB (and Ethernet) connection on the plane start became faster and all switch positions are synchronized momentary on reconnection.
I have optimized the large number of inputs scanning algorithm, that allows you to have up to 50 multiplexer extension boards (this max number has been announced as supported before, but need to be optimized).
Some issues have been resolved with the encoder steps consistency (for some types..). I'm improving the multiple encoder processing code, make it more reliable.
Analog axis processing is reworked, taking in account all other multiple inputs processing (if you have analog inputs configured and they send state changes too often caused by electrical noise from the power lines, this could influence the encoders). Now, I hope to make it more stable, allowing to have more sensitive axis (providing you still have a good power supply for axis reference voltage, reliable wiring and low-noise electric environment.
Added the possibility to connect the LED drivers to any OUTPUT extension multiplexer board instead of using direct pins and LED driver outputs. This option allows you to use an output multiplexer assigned for 7-segment displays for LEDs, utilizing any of its pins for either 7-segment displays or LED drivers.
If you use the LCD slave board, you will need to update its LCD firmware too. The new version of the LCD slave board firmware has a reworked connection protocol for more reliable and fast connection. On board start (power connected) every connected LCD shows the "SimVimX-" message in the first line and the LCD:v05 (version) in the second line.
This will let you know that the LCD is working and your wiring is correct. When connecting with the master board and SimVimX plugin the message "RSC-v40" (version of RSC firmware) appears for 1 second, and then incoming data is displayed.
The alternative servo output option will be added to the master firmware. As the WitMotion doesn't produce the 32-servo boards anymore, another 32-Servo controller will be supported, like this one:
Stepper board firmware has also received some minor improvements, mostly related to the work of 28BYJ-48 steppers.
The generic circuit breakers will added to the database and to the configurator. They will be adding gradually, so just watch.
More image-maps are going to be added, working on it...
I intend to make RealSimControl more "modular" separating it to several boards with firmware designed for specific set of output devices. All these board will be connected to 2-wire interface, that can be laid across all your cockpit
Along with "RealSimControl LCD" firmware the same slave Uno/Nano board with "RealSimControl LED" firmware is planned to be added for connecting multiple 7-segment displays and LED drivers.
Special slave Nano board for all "hardware" Power control (and maybe brightness) outputs
Planned: The additional "sub-master" slave board ( mini Mega2560 ) is connected with a two-wire connection to the master board Mega2560.
Keeping a large number of inputs / outputs, and use minimum soldering but adding more performance and combine SimVimPanel with input/output controls. The input multiplexers connected to one Rpi board, slave controller boards (RealSimControl LCD, Stepper, etc), other extensions...
These LEDs are individually addressed, connected in serial chain, using just one output.
- Porting RealSimControl on the ESP32 (Espressif), high performance, but very cheap platform
- The first version has been made, tested, but it is doubtful that using this platform is worth it.